• September 21 – 23, 2017, Reconciliation: Wahkohtowin
    Co-hosted by the University of Alberta’s Centre for Constitutional Studies, Faculty of Law, and Faculty of Native Studies, this conference focuses on how to translate the spirit of reconciliation into constitutional text, practice, culture, and law. Inspired by the insights of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, UNDRIP and the treaty relationships that constitute Canada’s first constitutional law, this conference focuses on how to translate the spirit of reconciliation into constitutional text, practice, culture, and law. Is constitutional reconciliation the appropriate concept to pursue? If so, how might it be accomplished? We are particularly interested in the ways in which Indigenous laws and Indigenous constitutionalism can serve as models to chart a path forward, or provide a re-imagining of constitutional relationships within Canada. DOWNLOAD PROGRAM
  • March 13 – 14, 2015, Time for Boldness on Senate Reform
    A unique gathering of academic experts, senators, and politicians with an active interest in democratic and parliamentary reform gather to discuss the possibility of and competing visions for Senate reform. Speakers dissect the legal and political terrain following the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in the Reference re Senate Reform, reflect on the workings of the current Senate that must frame any reform initiatives, outline rival visions for reform and confront the real challenges of boldly moving forward on Senate Reform. DOWNLOAD PROGRAM
  • November 3 – 5, 2011, The Patriation Negotiations
    Thirty years ago, in November, 1981, Prime Minister Trudeau and the Premiers of all ten provinces met to negotiate a new constitution for Canada. At the end of 4 days they had the framework for a Charter, a plan for amending the constitution and bringing it home to Canada from the United Kingdom. What was negotiated and why? What were the hard fought battles and tension-filled moments? Why did Quebec not sign the Agreement? Should it have been signed by the others without Quebec? Key individuals who negotiated a new constitution for Canada will be re-uniting to tell us what actually happened behind closed doors. DOWNLOAD PROGRAM / TÉLÉCHARGER LE PROGRAMME
  • November 3, 2006, The Media and the Charter
    In recognition of the 25th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, this timely conference examines some questions about how the media recognizes, represents, and responds to Charter guarantees. These are questions about rights against the state; about the legal, ethical, and social responsibilities of journalists; about tradeoffs among rights, interests, and values; and about the possibilities for negotiating media-state and media-society relations. With panels designed in an informal and interactive format, and a compelling keynote talk, we hope to provoke useful discussions for journalists, journalism students, academics, members of the legal profession, and others who regularly navigate these tensions and tradeoffs. DOWNLOAD PROGRAM 


Our vision is to provide western Canadian practitioners, students and members of the public with the opportunity to take an in-depth look at constitutional developments – to go beyond acquainting them with a subject to deepening their working knowledge of constitutional issues. Our vision is also to bring together people with similar curiosity and interest– to allow them to meet each other and to create significant connections.

Many of our symposiums have been collaborations between the Centre for Constitutional Studies, the Faculty of Law, University of Alberta, and the Legal Education Society of Alberta.

  • March 19, 2019, Queer, Thriving, and Surviving
    The purpose of this Symposium is to mark the 20th anniversary of the Vriend decision . Vriend v Alberta which was decided by the Supreme Court of Canada in 1998, was the first case by that Court to acknowledge the systemic discrimination faced by gay people in Canada. The Court ruled that the Government of Alberta was required by the Constitution to include protection for gay people in its human rights act (Individual Rights Protection Act). The all-day workshop will be a participatory experience to explore legal and policy options which challenge and support the thriving and surviving of LGBTQ2S+ individuals and communities. Participants will dive into the “burning issues” of the day in Alberta. They will then have an opportunity to imagine new possibilities and explore interventions that support systemic change.
  • October 27, 2017, Canada 150
    Topics include Division of Powers & British North American Act, 1867; Fundamental Freedoms and Human Rights; Emerging Issues – Part 1 (Indigenous Peoples and the Division of Power; A Constitutionalized Right to a Healthy Environment; Regulating Expression in the Digital Sphere); Emerging Issues – Part 2 (Would a law requiring you to unlock your device for police violate the Charter?; The Alberta Government’s Response to Jordan).
  • June 9, 2016, The Constitution in the Insolvency Tool Box
    Topics include Intersections of Constitutional & Insolvency Law; Introduction to Division of Powers Jurisprudence; The Scope of the Discharge after Maloney: Regulatory Powers; Receivership; Priorities.
  • February 26 – 27, 2016, The State of Canada’s Constitutional Democracy  – Best Practices Going Forward
    The David Asper Centre for Constitutional Rights, University of Toronto and the Centre for Constitutional Studies, University of Alberta, co-organized this symposium examining the state of Canada’s constitutional democracy. Dramatic changes have taken place in recent years with respect to the day to day functioning of our constitutional democracy. These changes impinge on the separation of powers, the rule of law and the supremacy of the constitution.
  • October 23, 2015, Constitutional Symposium
    Topics include Fundamental Freedoms – Charter S. 2(d) & Freedom of Association; Fundamental Freedoms – Charter S. 2(d) & Freedom of Religion; Aboriginal and Language Rights; Key Issues – Stare Decisis, Access to Justice, Sections 15 & 30 of the Charter.
  • October 3, 2014, Constitutional Symposium
    Topics include Sections 7 & 15 of the Charter; Aboriginal Rights; Legal Rights and the Charter; Is this the Death of Dialogue?
  • October 4, 2013, Constitutional Symposium
    Topics include Constitutional Litigation Strategies; Equality Rights and Charter Jurisdiction; Division of Powers – Federalism; Aboriginal Issues; Legal Rights and the Charter
  • September 28, 2012, Constitutional Symposium
    Topics include The Charter and Civil Law; Division of Powers; Aboriginal Rights; the Charter and Criminal Law